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OLPC to Run Windows, Come to the US

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the gone-a-little-bit-off-course-here dept.

Microsoft 350

An anonymous reader writes "'Yesterday Nicholas Negroponte, former director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab and current head of the nonprofit One Laptop Per Child project, gave analysts and journalists an update on the OLPC project. Two big changes were announced — the $100 OLPC is now the $175 OLPC, and it will be able to run Windows. Even in a market where there are alternatives to using Windows and Office, there's a huge demand for Microsoft software. The OLPC was seen as a way for open source Linux distributions to achieve massive exposure in developing countries, but now Negroponte says that the OLPC machine will be able to run Windows as well as Linux. Details are sketchy but Negroponte did confirm that the XO's developers have been working with Microsoft to get the OLPC up to spec for Windows.' We also find out that the OLPC gets a price hike and will officially come to the US. Could this be tied into Microsoft's new $3 Windows XP Starter and Office 2007 bundle? Now that the OLPC and Intel's Classmate PC can both run Windows, is Linux in the developing world in trouble?"

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Bill Gates' criticism (5, Insightful)

MarkByers (770551) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910601)

I guess Bill Gates is going to stop criticizing the project now that it supports Windows...

Re:Bill Gates' criticism (1, Offtopic)

Unleashed2k (1070834) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910827)

guess this would increase piracy for windows?

Re:Bill Gates' criticism (1, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910877)

guess this would increase piracy for windows?
Yep, and now they can sue owners of laptops $3 each for the piracy. Ha!

Re:Bill Gates' criticism (2)

Zaiff Urgulbunger (591514) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911007)

as long as they don't run Linux, Bill will be happy.

Re:Bill Gates' criticism (0, Redundant)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911169)

For what values of 'happy'?

ATTN: SWITCHEURS! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911167)

If you don't know what Cmd-Shift-1 and Cmd-Shift-2 are for, GTFO.
If you think Firefox is a decent Mac application, GTFO.
If you're still looking for the "maximize" button, GTFO.
If the name "Clarus" means nothing to you, GTFO.

Bandwagon jumpers are not welcome among real [imageshack.us] Mac [imageshack.us] users [imageshack.us] . Keep your filthy, beige [imageshack.us] PC fingers to yourself.

Re:Bill Gates' criticism (2, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911207)

Bill will love the market share. But he may not like the rampant virus incubator that is created. 30 million unpatched copies of Windows are going to be 15 million more bots. Windows might get a black eye.

Price of Dollar and System upgrades (4, Insightful)

Marcion (876801) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910603)

Now the system has 256MB of Ram and a slightly better processor, so yes it could now run Windows in theory. However as they always say, this is an educational project not a laptop project, and they are of course going to go with the stunning Sugar interface.

The dollar has fallen in value quite a lot, next month we'll no doubt see $250 OLPC if it keeps slipping.

Why 256Mb? (5, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910751)

I still have a 1999 vintage Sony Vaio laptop with 64Mb RAM and 333MHz Pentium II running Linux with Kde version 2. It runs fine, at about 1kg weight it's an excellent machine for its original purpose. I also have a 1996 model Acer laptop with 16Mb RAM and a 166MHz Pentium CPU running Slackware with a fvwm GUI.


Unless they can offer those 256Mb of RAM at a lower price than a smaller memory, it's a waste of resources. Better make an effort to lower that price than try to make it run windows. What next, the $999 OLPC to run a $300 Vista Starter Edition?

Re:Why 256Mb? (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910783)

How big is the harddrive in that brick?

Re:Why 256Mb? (3, Insightful)

Marcion (876801) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910807)

Until last year I had 64MB and 200MHz Pentium I, however I used the command line and Emacs/Lynx/Mutt/Mplayer/Python etc which are all written in C and optimised for that, I was also running Gentoo (compiled by a bigger machine over the network) to squeeze out all the unneeded compile options etc.

The OLPC are using GTK+ and want to be able to run a Mozilla based browser and Java and so on and have a high quality, child-focused, graphical experience, so 128MB is a minimum really, plus there is no graphics chip so you will need a certain extra amount to draw X etc. My new Macbook has a similar setup and does not take more than 80MB, at least on Linux.

Re:Why 256Mb? (1)

jozmala (101511) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910891)

Currently 256Mb SO-DIMM would costs in volume market about 10$.
As for my personal use of linux I have found that 256MB is definitely the minimum you really want to have in general desktop use. Sure you *COULD* run it with lower amount, but every now and then you end up with really bad slowdowns, depending on what apps you want to run with it.
[My current has 1GB because it ended up with that kind of problems with 512MB of ram]

The processor, RAM, etc... When consider where to save costs I think the 10$ DRAM wouldn't be a place to save.

Re:Why 256Mb? (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911201)

OEMs do not pay anything close to the retail price for Windows. The Starter Edition might not cost $50 each, though a system powerful enough to run Vista acceptably should be left to the existing market.

256MB may be the new minimum memory module for mass production. Which is fine, if the marginal cost is low enough. Usually, at the low end, there is a minimum where going below that isn't worth it because you make massive sacrifices to save a tiny percentage of money. There's little point in saving a paltry sum to get half the memory or less.

Re:Why 256Mb? (1)

skoaldipper (752281) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911217)

A thought occurred to me while reading your specs. Why doesn't the OLPC run a sister project based purely on old hardware donations from across the world? I have 3 shelves full of various vintage green fab which would bring a smile to even Sally Struthers face. Knowledge is food, no?

Granted, older hardware has higher energy demands. But with a sturdy crank at the side, the OLPC could even help train the next gen of Olympic discus throwers as well. Not to be entirely aloof here, but maybe a focus on developing _just_ a portable energy crank to be applied independently across a slew of computer hardware interfaces might be more cost effective.

1. Set up OLPC donation project.
2. Spray dust off.
3. Test and configure.
4. Bolt portable crank.
5. ?
6. Non PROFIT!

Re:Price of Dollar and System upgrades (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910899)

I never understood why the OLPC project added a completely new user interface to their laptops in the first place. It just seems like a big risk to link together a research project on new user interaction with a project to make computers and the internet available to these people.

Vista may not be the answer, but it's a more proven concept than Sugar.

Re:Price of Dollar and System upgrades (1)

joshv (13017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911093)

Yes, it's quite clear that the purchasers of these laptops (foreign governments) just aren't all that interested in their children learning a dumbed down academic interface. They want their children to be able to work for multi-nationals that use windows. They want their children to be able run programs from the largest pool of available software - and that means windows.

Vista ready? (1)

HvitRavn (813950) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910607)

Anyone know if it will be "Vista Ready"? :)

Re:Vista ready? (3, Funny)

Varun Soundararajan (744929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910711)

with puny 256MB Ram I m sure it wont. Vista requires atleast 1 GB of RAM for a "non-sluggish" preformance. Someone joked that you need Google's Infrastructure to run Vista to its full speed.

Obligatory Disclosure: that someone is me :)

Re:Vista ready? (2, Funny)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910753)

Anyone know if it will be "Vista Ready"? :)

Right, but your battery power expires while still booting.

Re:Vista ready? (4, Funny)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910769)

No,you develop a right arm like Arnold Schwarzenegger cranking the generator while its booting.

Re:Vista ready? (1)

jacksonj04 (800021) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911047)

Actually, my Vista boot goes faster than my Ubuntu boot with roughly equivalent services and applications installed on each (IM, office suite etc).

Wow, what a setback (5, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910621)

You know what's next ... the XO's in the real field [e.g. 3rd world nations] will start shipping with Windows instead of their OSS tools.

Yeah, MSFT won again!

I wonder how much it cost MSFT to buy them off....

Tom

Not News (1, Interesting)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910745)

This is not news, despite the Slashdot headline and the ZDNet blog saying otherwise. Quite a while back we already heard [slashdot.org] from Negroponte that they had given some OLPC hardware to Microsoft, and that Microsoft was working on getting Windows to work on it. So this is not news in the simplest possible sense. Did anyone doubt that Microsoft would succeed in getting Windows to work on an OLPC? Of course not.

The question is not whether the OLPC can run Windows. The question is what OS will actually be used, which depends on the nations buying OLPCs. Last I heard it was too soon to tell about such details.

Re:Not News (5, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910795)

The news is that Microsoft couldn't get Windows to run on it without getting the OLPC project to increase their hardware specs, and instead of just telling Microsoft to go jump, they compromised and now the laptop is going to cost more.

I said 'the news' there.. I guess I really should say 'the spin'.

Re:Not News (1)

kripkenstein (913150) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910863)

The news is that Microsoft couldn't get Windows to run on it without getting the OLPC project to increase their hardware specs, and instead of just telling Microsoft to go jump, they compromised and now the laptop is going to cost more.
I may be getting dyslexic in my old age, but I don't see that in any of TFAs. Can you supply a quote? Yes, the price is going up, but because of Microsoft?

Re:Not News (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911055)

The price has gone up because the memory and drive space have mysteriously doubled from 128MB to 256MB and 512MB to 1GB, respectively.

Re:Not News (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911193)

that increase in memory will also be very useful on the linux side.

also sinc ethe machines support both, people will be able to really compare linux and windows and see what a hog windows is.

Re:Not News (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911059)

Did anyone doubt that Microsoft would succeed in getting Windows to work on an OLPC? Of course not.


And the release of the uberfat Vista makes me think where they put all the unnecessary bloat removed from the Windows version that will ship in the OLPC.

No BIOS so how are you going to boot windows? (2, Insightful)

Marcion (876801) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910829)

>[e.g. 3rd world nations] will start shipping with Windows instead of their OSS tools.

Well since the laptop is built with a custom OpenFirmware and a LinuxBios (kernel on the firmware), how are they going to boot Windows exactly?

Re:No BIOS so how are you going to boot windows? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910847)

Um you realize that otherwise it's a fairly standard PC setup right? They could just reflash the bios with a PC compatible bios.

Tom

Re:No BIOS so how are you going to boot windows? (1)

Marcion (876801) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910981)

So you have bought a small BIOS, adding to the cost and reflashed it. Now you also need to get Marvell to provide a driver for the Mesh wireless chip on Windows too, then get that signed by Microsoft, then make sure the trendy new screen works, then you have to get Windows and the Applications within the 1GB flash drive, then you have to sort the keymap out, because it has its own custom layout.

Why would you even bother? If you want a Dell then buy a Dell.

Re:No BIOS so how are you going to boot windows? (1)

Lennie (16154) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910963)

I've heard LinuxBios can boot Windows

Sit Back And Watch (0, Troll)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910643)

Microsoft influence is going to delay and eventually destroy this project.

It may not even be intentional, but that's what Microsoft does.

Re:Sit Back And Watch (1)

Xiph (723935) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910887)

mod parent up tag: itstrapped

Come on (2, Insightful)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910651)

I get the feeling sometimes that the heads at M$ have a robber baron complex. They stole ideas and software so much that they feel bad and try to give back somehow as well as force their crap on unsuspecting indiginous peoples. I just don't think that this is necessarily a good venue for them. First I think that it'll actually degrade the performance of the machine and what happens when all these machines get out in the world and they mesh network a virus? (if this doesn't make much sense please break out a decoder ring, I'm 11 1/2 hours into my shift at 5:30 in the morning) It seems to me that it would create a lot more problems than it's worth, not to mention that for kids in the developing world the XO interface looks like it's more language/culture neutral than a windows style interface. Oh and last I checked every dollar counts in this thing, most developing countries don't have a ton of money to throw at these so the cheaper the better, so an extra few dollars per machine may not seem like a lot to us but for where they're going and the numbers that are estimated it adds up pretty quickly.

BITCH SLAP!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910653)

I wish I had the super-power to bitch slap people like Nicholas Negroponte.
Whats wrong with running Ubuntu/Sabayon or any other debian/gentoo derivative. They are stable and have enough open source programs that children in desire for such systems would need

Re:BITCH SLAP!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911125)

It's 256MB RAM now, but at the time it was 128MB. Have you tried running Ubuntu (or Sabayon!) on 128MB, with no swap? While I'm at it (not directed at the OP) : has anyone tried running OS X with these specs? If so, do you still think that Negroponte's refusal of Steve Job's offer of a cost-free OS X was based solely on "OSS zealotry"? Do you think that, knowing all this, Steve Jobs didn't realise his offer would be rejected? Does anyone still think that Job's offer was anything but a PR stunt which he knew could pull and not have to deliver on?

Another thought (2, Insightful)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910669)

I know I just posted a second ago but I also had a thought. Is M$ maybe trying to get all these people using and programming with Windows so that they can set up Developer sweatshops similar to clothing lines? I do remember some exec saying at one time something about developers developers developers........ *stares stupidly at chair flying towards head*

Re:Another thought (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910805)

Shya. Microsoft is one of the few companies that still does all their development in the USA. Of course, they import people on H1B visas to do the work, but they do it in Redmond.

Re:Another thought (1)

chuckymonkey (1059244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910837)

Well at any rate I'm going to buy a few of these for one of the countries, I'll keep one for me and my kids though. I think it'll be a good educational tool for my children, maybe even me we'll have to see.

Your panties are in a bunch... (2, Insightful)

Rotten168 (104565) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910671)

just because it *can* run Windows? As in, just the possibility upsets you? Folks, get some perspective will ya'?

Re:Your panties are in a bunch... (5, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910749)

The problem is people like me fear that OLPC was bought off, and that the promise of a really open and accessible laptop for students has died.

You think it's hard to get proper tech support in the 1st world? Try it in a field school somewhere 500 miles away from the nearest large city. Running windows as opposed to the hardened linux they were developing is just inviting every random malware and virus to hop a ride through their laptops rendering them useless.

Also a lot of the innovative features like the grouping and shared sessions [as well as tailor made games/activities] probably won't be ported [or well] to Windows, leaving the kids with a really large lack of useful software.

Tom

Re:Your panties are in a bunch... (-1, Troll)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910873)

The problem is people like me fear that OLPC was bought off, and that the promise of a really open and accessible laptop for students has died.
No you are blabbing completely unsubstantiated allegations and seem to have a problem with the countries interested in these laptops having a choice of what runs on them. The loss of a potential Linux monoculture in the developing world is what you are really whining about.

Re:Your panties are in a bunch... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910945)

First, my UID is lower than yours. Therefore, I'm better than you. :-) [fully expecting a 3 digit UID to show me up...]

That you said "Linux monoculture" means you're trolling. There is no such thing. I write an application on Fedora Core, it works in Gentoo, the same software will most certainly compile in a BSD, etc, etc, etc. Try that with Windows.

Nice troll though.

Re:Your panties are in a bunch... (1)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911025)

First, my UID is lower than yours. Therefore, I'm better than you. :-) [fully expecting a 3 digit UID to show me up...]
Clear proof there for your unfounded allegations then. I rest my case.

That you said "Linux monoculture" means you're trolling.
No it means you cant explain how millions of machines all running the same software is not a monoculture and resort to more silly allegations.

Re:Your panties are in a bunch... (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911073)

Yeah except they're not limited to running OLPC software. It's a Linux kernel with a glibc standard C library [along with the X windows and other stuff]. It's in no way limited in the software it can run other than by the storage space.

Tom

Re:Your panties are in a bunch... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910833)

Actually, YES it does bother me, Are we not talking about 3rd World countries who have little or no money.
Why introduce them to 'Paid' software when OSS can do the job for NOTHING and do it quicker and better on less hardware.
Of course, if Bill supplies Windows for nothing that's a different matter but the hardware still has to run with MS Windows.

Would you like that coffee for free or do you want to pay for it.......duh.

Re:Your panties are in a bunch... (2, Insightful)

mrsteveman1 (1010381) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911075)

It bothers me when ANYTHING related to Microsoft or Windows affects the upstream hardware being developed in ANY FUCKING WAY.

I swear if *ANYTHING* on that OLPC unit changes to suit Microsoft or people who want to put windows on it, shit is going to start flying...

This is not a consumer PC, it does NOT need to be able to run multiple systems, and you DO NOT need a choice. This is a totally custom, embedded system for children who don't have running water, the fact that it uses standard hardware and the Linux kernel is irrelevant. If we start compromising to allow for sales in the US and other developed countries to use windows, we will have ruined the original idea, which was to make a system that children in 3rd world countries could obtain, use easily, and maintain without any sort of support from the manufacturer.

Re:Your panties are in a bunch... (1)

joshv (13017) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911113)

I am sure MS will offer a very cheap, slimmed down OS for this machine. The kids who get these laptops won't have to pay for it at all. They will however have access to the largest pool of free software available - free software that runs on windows. Almost all of the major OSS projects have windows versions, and there is a wealth of free/shareware that's available only on windows.

Re:Your panties are in a bunch... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911085)

just because it *can* run Windows? As in, just the possibility upsets you? Folks, get some perspective will ya'?

Well, how is microsoft going to claim that the owners wipe linux and install windows, if it is not possible to run windows on it? ;)

Microsoft Tax (0)

Yuioup (452151) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910675)

Great. Does this mean that there's a Microsoft tax on the laptops now?

Y

Re:Microsoft Tax (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910839)

Yes. approximately $75.

Windows is good for education (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910679)

I use Windows XP because it does everything I need and I can go about my business with a minimum of time invested in learning how. Windows is designed to cater for the computer illiterate. If the use of Windows on these laptops does anything to lower entry barriers (such as computer literacy or childrens' attention spans) then it is appropriate for this project.

Re:Windows is good for education (5, Insightful)

Hennell (1005107) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910773)

Windows is designed to cater for the computer illiterate.
How much is this actually true? Every OS needs some getting used to and if you've never used a computer before, using Linux shouldn't be any harder then using windows.
---
If a picture is worth a thousand words my dissertation is going to be a dodle
---

Re:Windows is good for education (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910819)

Even worse, windows is almost designed to preserve user's computer illiteracy - you don't learn how to use a computer, you rote-learn how to do some tasks using a computer running windows. The OLPC linux OS was designed to encourage exploration of what was underneath, all deliberately written in a simple programming language. The *reason* we have programmers today is because the early 8- and 16- bit platforms they grew up on encouraged exploration. My first computers came with complete schematics and a programming manual.

Re:Windows is good for education (1)

TSDMK (979550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910889)

I think this might make sense where kids have already had exposure to PCs (running Windows no doubt) say at school, but they and their families can't afford to buy their own PCs. The Sugar GUI can be pretty baffling to those used to a more contemporary UI - at least it was to me looking at some of the reviews on the web.

I agree with earlier posters about the potential for viruses roaming free across the mesh network though. A network that's always on even when the computer is off sounds pretty scary from a security point of view.

Re:Windows is good for education (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911071)

You use Windows simply because the majority of other people do. You have never evaluated it against the alternatives. Indeed, I'll wager that you cannot identify any essential features that Windows XP has that other OSes don't have. If MS produced a version of Office for Linux would you make the same statement? I suspect not.

An offer he couldn't refuse (4, Funny)

BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910683)

> but now Negroponte says that the OLPC machine will be able to run Windows as well as Linux.

Not surprising that Negroponte changed his mind. Waking up and finding that chair in his bed must have really rattled him.

Linux "in trouble" (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910685)

Now that the OLPC and Intel's Classmate PC can both run Windows, is Linux in the developing world in trouble?

In trouble of what. It had very low desktop market share and will continue to have low market share. Not exactly a "trouble", not a victory either.

If "Vista Capable" level of compatibility is what we should expect from an OLPC running XP starter edition, I think Linux will prevail.

While I'm a strong supporter of Windows versus Linux as a desktop client (as Linux simply has too many logistical and usability problems YET), for the purpose of the OLPC, and given that it'll come pre-configured and pre-bundled with the necessary apps, Linux is quite up to the task.

Anti competitive move? (3, Interesting)

nietsch (112711) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910689)

If MS can charge $3 for their software, but in other venues charge more then 300 for nearly the same, can that be considered as anti-competitive dumping?
Let's just hope that the next US government will break up Bills empire and throw the upper management in jail.

If the price rises $75, that can be considered a $75 windos tax, that is 42%!

Additional Funding (2, Interesting)

ntufar (712060) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910695)

Good for OLPC and for Linux acceptance.

Consider: until now we have been running Linux on computers that were designed for Windows. With OLPC it will be the other way around: people will be able to run Windows on a computer designed for Linux! And this project will be partially funded by Microsoft. It is a huge publicity for Linux on Microsoft's expense.

Instant solution (1)

harry666t (1062422) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910707)

Make OLPC's CPU non-x86. Windows is portable like... Like... Like... It's not.

Re:Instant solution (2, Informative)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910743)

Make OLPC's CPU non-x86. Windows is portable like... Like... Like... It's not.

Windows NT started on the Alpha processors, later was ported to x86. In recent years it was ported to x64 and Itanium (Itanium share nothing with x86 except the company that made them).

Don't invent problems where there aren't.

Re:Instant solution (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910757)

Linux can run on Atmel AVR32 processors. I really doubt Windows has been ported there :-)

They're also ridiculously low powered processors. Albeit not the fastest things ever, probably give the Geode a run for it's money though.

Tom

Re:Instant solution (3, Insightful)

the Haldanian (700979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911119)

Are you really trying to defend Windows portability by saying a defunct OS was once ported to a dead chip?

Re:Instant solution (1)

gsnedders (928327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911233)

The Xbox 360's OS is based on NT 5, running on PPC.

Re:Instant solution (1)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911203)

Windows runs on ARM processors as well, which are distinctly not x86.

This just lost my support. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18910715)

I was really excited as I followed along with the latest OLPC developments. Sugar, the hardware design... I wanted to buy one and in doing so pay for one for a kid. Was told this wouldn't be possible.. I didn't get it, but okay... I knew the $100 target price would eventually be more. So when it went up to $175 I was like, okay...

But this marks the beginning of the end, before it even got its start. Now what's to stop it from becoming a platform (no pun intended) for MS to leverage itself into the emerging world?

This sucks.

start-run- apt-get install visual studio! (1)

sakdoctor (1087155) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910719)

What is the point of the $3 windows starter edition.
I thought an important point of shipping linux appart from cost was that it comes ready to do "stuff".

Does XP starter come with freecell?

It is not a $3 Windows (1)

robinjo (15698) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911045)

It's a $75 + $3 Windows.

I almost had a (1)

joshier (957448) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910735)

heart attack when I read 'OLPC to Run Windows'.. jesus christ, I actually thought microsoft had just won over linux on the OLCP.. thank god I read it incorrectly.

Hmmm... (1)

Urza9814 (883915) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910799)

Of course. They say it'll run windoze, and the price doulbes. Gee, wonder where that $75 is going. I'm betting anything that isn't going straight to M$ is going to getting better hardware so that the bloated spyware called Vista will actually run on it.

Vista? (1)

matt me (850665) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910803)

Of course the laptop can't run Vista. That's a hilarious suggestion. It would never work.

Microsoft aren't going to ship an ancient unsupported distribution (98, 2000), which leaves only versions of XP. XP was first sold in 2001, and Microsoft intend it to be usurped by this years Vista. Production of XP is due to be phased out in 2008 (that's next year folks), and retail and OEM licenses won't be available from January 31, 2008 (that's nine months away) according to their following page:
http://www.microsoft.com/windows/lifecycle/default .mspx [microsoft.com]

They can't stick to that date. Dell customers have shown the demand for XP remains; Dell's profits dropped the months it wasn't available. So it's no surprise Microsoft choose to bundle XP for $3 over Vista. The truth is Vista, their more expensive, more recent product that they really want to push is less desirable to most users, and this a consequence of Microsoft's own policies. Microsoft succeeded in creating the ultimate lock-in system with XP, and this has now hit them hard. Most XP users see the system as perfectly functional, they've become incredibly accustomed to even the dysfunctional parts and many of them don't remember or never experienced previous upgrades (they've had XP for six years). It's true that upgrading will only introduce hardware problems, the trouble of data migration, loss of settings, and fewer compatible applications.

If they do phase out XP, I'm going to stockpile discs to sell with filament lightbulbs the months after the stores dry up.

Re:Vista? (2, Interesting)

XScB (240898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910975)

C'mon. The OLPC is not a conventional PC nor notebook lacking a colour LCD, and a harddisk. This is going to be an embedded variant of Windows, with different features dropped.

Either Embedded Windows XP, or much, much more likely, Windows CE. And they'll still have to up the hw spec.

3 words... (1)

ohsmeguk (1048214) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910853)

Embrace, Extend, Exterminate

The death of Linux on OLPC is greatly exaggerated (5, Informative)

HerbieStone (64244) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910875)

From here [laptop.org] and here [laptop.org]

True: Microsoft is working on a Windows based system that can be executed on the OLPC laptop.
False: There is no strategy change. The OLPC is continuing to develop a Linux-based software set for the laptop in conjunction with Red Hat. But since the OLPC project is open we cannot (and maybe even don't want to) stop other people from developing and supplying alternate software packages.

Re:The death of Linux on OLPC is greatly exaggerat (4, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911137)

The death of Linux on OLPC is greatly exaggerated

I think you missed the bigger implication here...

None of us care if Billy G sells a crippled, OLPC-specific version of XP dirt-cheap, in a desperate bid to promote Windows adoption in the 3rd world. Exposing people to "Starter Edition" would most likely do more to promote Linux use than compete with it.

Given the price and specs change, and Microsoft's announcement of "embracing" the OLPC, some of us can't help but but 2 and 2 together and get 4. A decent Linux system doesn't need 256MB, while XP can barely run its own Explorer interface, much less any additional programs (and I wouldn't even want to try any of the Office apps such as Word) on anything less.



As the biggest issue here, you need to look at this from two perspectives - Ours, as (most likely) middle-class geeks posting from a Western nation viewing this as a really cool (and still exceedingly cheap) compromise between a palmheld and a laptop and cheap enough to consider nearly disposeable; And a third-world school looking at a total budget of $150 per year, trying to decide if they should buy an OLPC or rebuild the school that washed away in the annual spring mudslide.

Cheap toys vs still-expensive tools.



And lest you take that as baseless speculation, "However, Negroponte disclosed that XO's developers have been working with Microsoft Corp. so a version of Windows can run on the machines as well". No, not a "side effect". Boost the specs and boost the price just so Microsoft can play along.

I wonder how much Nick Negroponte's soul cost Mr. Gates...

Re:The death of Linux on OLPC is greatly exaggerat (1)

badc0ffee (969714) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911157)

OLPC is not done until Windows won't run.

Twelve Hundred Children (3, Insightful)

Etherwalk (681268) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910905)

> is Linux in the developing world in trouble?"

Twelve hundred children an hour die, largely in said world, and mostly preventable deaths. (Source: UNICEF). That's things like malnutrition, lack of access to clean water, etc...

No offense meant, but can you imagine how much we shouldn't care what kind of operating system these countries are using? There are bigger problems to worry about.

Re:Twelve Hundred Children (4, Insightful)

dbIII (701233) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910951)

The one that makes it easier for them to read about how to purify water obviously - so the cheaper one since web browsers work just about everywhere.

Re:Twelve Hundred Children (1)

thygrrr (765730) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910995)

Actually, we shouldn't.

These people are dying because of the capitalistic principles we introduced to their countries/kingdoms/tribes, and the fact that they can't afford certain limited resources in said system, among them no less education and IT than clean water and food.

Exporting even more non-free (in both senses of the word) goods will not improve their situation. Give a man a Fish, and feed him for a day, tech him how to fish, and feed him for a lifetime.

The problem is that "teaching how to fish" in today's terms means "allow them access to resources that should be free, especially better education".

Re:Twelve Hundred Children (1)

oZt (689520) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911139)

I totally agree with this.

Poor Kids (1)

somegeekynick (1011759) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910933)

Now they have to remember to run those anti-spyware and AV softwares everyday! :(

I don't believe it! (1)

XScB (240898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910939)

"there's a huge demand for Microsoft software"

Since when has this project been driven by market needs? I thought it was meant to empower children by giving them the power of a notebook, not the power of Windows.

So now they have to up the spec to meet Windows, which will need to up the price as component costs rise. Just so they can run Windows. To change the hardware spec. at this stage in the project would only happen for strong reasons related to the overall success of the project.

It doesn't make sense, and there must be something else going on behind the scenes.

Some interesting things to note... (1)

nicc777 (614519) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910943)

First of all, it would be short sited not to include Microsoft in this kind of project. Remember that Microsoft still has some social responsibility and since it's a world player it would make sense to "sponsor" a project like this. However, they should not be asking any money off it. In fact, they may even be able to use it as a tax write off - if that is possible in the US(?).

Further more, there is just so much more educational software available on Microsoft - especially older versions of MS DOS, Windows 3x, Windows 9x. Yes, I know they are no longer supported, but I am sure Microsoft could make an effort in supporting these older games - or even bring back some kind of limited support for their older OS's.

This does not however mean that Linux has lost - it merely defines what we as a community can do to guarantee Linux a spot in this market: develop quality educational software, or, let the likes of the Wine Project [winehq.com] focus on compatibility for these older "games". That would mean that potentially Microsoft does not have to support older versions of Windows any more (since the Wine community can now do that), and it could even mean that a company like Novell or RedHat could also now start to act on their social responsibilities by supporting the Wine Project.

In the end, I support the philosophy behind the project, and personally I will take any OS and Software available to help some of the poorest children on Earth.

Just a quick last word from my side: I have a flash light with one of them handles to wind up to load the batteries. I can not see this concept fly on this Project, but if it does we will have some well developed poor people able to knock down walls with their fists :)

Re:Some interesting things to note... (1)

XScB (240898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911013)

Microsoft didn't become a billion dollar company through pure altruism.

This is classic behaviour by Microsoft. It's strategic.

As the developing world becomes saturated with PCs and the growth slows down, Microsoft doesn't want to lose out in developing low-cost markets to Linux. Therefore, given this project has the possibility of creating an avalanche of cheap Linux PCs in developing markets which overtime could threaten future sales of Windows in those markets, (through loss of mindshare, legacy notebooks, follow on projects, and the skills of these kids being firmly outside Windows) Microsoft sees a threat and sees a need to kill it.

They can't end the project so it's embrace and extend all over again.

$ 175 (1)

Toon Moene (883988) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910969)

So it now costs $ 175 because it has to support Windows ?

Doomsayers, Shut Up! (0, Flamebait)

crhylove (205956) | more than 7 years ago | (#18910991)

Anybody who's tried to run Windows in 256 mb of ram should know that it's a joke. There is no way any kid with an internet connection isn't going to download Ubuntu and switch. Seriously. Fuck Sugar, Fuck Windows, you could get PLENTY of functionality out of a machine like that and a lightweight linux distro, I favor Xubuntu or the like....

rhY

Re:Doomsayers, Shut Up! (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911175)

Now, now, now.... I like to bash Microsoft as much as the next slashdot guy. However, it is possible to run Windows XP Pro on a machine with 256Meg RAM. On idle, a correclty configured XP uses about 100Meg, less depending on the active services. You can even run iTunes, Firefox, Thunderbird and OpenOffice2.org on it. Now, true, the difference by adding another 256Meg is big, but it is possible. My mother in law ran a P-III 500MHz/256Meg RAM for quite some time until I found a slightly better CPU and another PC100 256Meg stick in a dumpster. It now is a really good machine for normal productivity applications. My last laptop was a P-III 600MHz/512Meg RAM and it was sufficient for my needs. I only replaced it because it fell physically apart.

olpc breaks bounds on hardware - amazing (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911029)

I am using the olpc xo. (that is the name of the computer). The hardware is truly revolutionary. It is NOT just a small laptop, it is more rugged than a toughbook and as cute as an aibo. I have seen its effect on children. They immediately love it and treat it like a pet. (anthropomorphism?)

It is also a full on computer with a fantastic screen.

I am glad to see the opening of the hardware to other operating systems. The hardware needs to be commercially available so us geek developers can extend the software in thousands of ways. These extensions will greatly benefit the children of the developing world, and continue to bridge the divide as we all work together to build this educational tool.

What about Windows CE? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911061)

People seem to be wondering about Vista/XP/98. What about CE? It should run just fine on the OLPC.

But can it run Windows *and* Antivirus software? (2, Insightful)

the Haldanian (700979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911063)

Thank you Microsoft.

Due to your intervention, the same village will now receive 40% less laptops for the same budget, and experience viruses, BSOD's and Windows bit-rot.

They will become educated in the three R's (Reboot, Reinstall, Reformat and these devices don't come with CD drives).

Of course, you are going to ensure that the 'productivity' software is fully 'compatible' with the Linux software, aren't you.

But at least you won't get any competition from any emerging 3rd world IT industries, eh? Because developing on these platforms will be *so* cheap and easy. Who knows, you may force them to become amoral and pirate all your software in order to get anything done, instead of sharing GPL'd code and helping each other totally legally and morally.

And of course you are well known for writing secure, resource efficient software that doesn't have memory leaks, and Linux is not.
(For instance, my house firewall is definitely not a Pentium 75 with 64Mb of memory with an uptime of years).

After all, you have to use the right tool for the job, and they exist for you, not vice versa. Their needs are your needs.

Don't worry, if you're feeling guilty just get the Gates Foundation charity to cut their country a check. All better!

By the way, aren't you canning XP soon? I hope they have their upgrade path sorted.

Congratulations (4, Informative)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911089)

I'd like to congratulate this project for becoming a total failure.

I live in a third world country, let me say this: 175 $us is too expensive, that 75% more actually means a reduction in possible buyers by 90% (Although this statistic is totally made up, I am pretty sure this is the case, let's say 85%~95%), as a matter of fact, here it is possible to get a 'real' computer (Pentium I, which is enough for a child's computer, did you know?) for 150$us.

And all of this so it can run windows...

a sad mistake (1)

sick_soul (794596) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911109)

The decision to raise the price from $100 to $175 is a mistake in PR.
They should have never made the price public if they were not sure about it,
and just release it as the $200 OLPC when they were.
By making it run proprietary operating systems, the project also fails to
deliver the freedom it initially seemed to care about.

That would be hysterical (2, Interesting)

gelfling (6534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911133)

If MS came out and said there's now a way to run Windows on the cheapest lowest powered laptop you can find. Sorry about that massive investment you wasted.

Linux in the developing world in trouble (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911155)

It always has been, pirating what the rest of the world uses is cheaper then trying something 'different'.

Not saying its the better choice, but its the 'cheaper' one in the long run if you want to compete.

The right thing VS the truely right thing (1)

Shohat (959481) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911165)

The right thing to do would be shipping 100$ per laptop, with open source software package and a Linux distro.
The really right thing to do would be shipping this laptop with software that is being used by 95% of the worlds users , effectively giving people the skills needed to operate the tools that are used by the majority of people in the developed world. (no this isn't flaimbait)

the whole project has been ruined (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 7 years ago | (#18911173)

the price is too high, might as well go hunt for a second-hand laptop now...

regular books (made of paper) is more plausible anyway, they don't need electricity and they don't BSOD...

the original idea of a low cost laptop thingy for third-world children was a good idea, but this has turned in to a commercialized mess, whats next the price going up to 599USD? product activation? these people royally screwed this up maybe beyond repair, the KISS philosophy is needed here more than ever...

Against the law to bribe... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911187)

...foreign officials. The OLPC running linux was/is a HUGE threat to MS desktop dominance globally long term. It just is. So we get the almost dual announcements of the $3 MS software bundle, then this project will now "be capable of running windows". Uh huh, that's just a *coincidence*. [church lady voice] One has n-o-o-thing to do with the other [/voice]

  As someone else pointed out, anti competitive dumping practices might be an issue here as well, using the much lower "dumped" price in order to maintain a monopoly on the desktop, along with the normal foreign official "consultation fees".

Either way, serious bogus news with this laptop project. Apparently it has already resulted in a significant price increase for the hardware. It's creeping up slowly into "normal low end" laptop production costs. Not there yet, but at this rate of creep, it will get there.

Next Change coming up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18911191)

It will cost 180 dollars because they compromised and
replaced the BIOS with Phoenix BIOS with patented "Readybrokencode Technology (Tm)".

Bleah, now its just a crappy underpowered Windows PC with a crank. (Scooty Puff Jr anyone?)
http://futurama.overt-ops.com/images/9/93/Scooty-P uff_jr.jpg [overt-ops.com]

Not interested in donating money to Bill's bank account through
Negroponte's compromised efforts.

A compromised vision can kill enthusiasm just as fast as canceling the project.
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